Is Style Important?
Meghan Markle describes her aha moment about fashion as a “Tig” moment, the namesake for her now archived lifestyle blog. “Fashion is not just clothes, it can be art.”
Why should we care about the clothes we wear? Who cares if this shirt goes with that fanny pack? With those Doc Martens from yesteryear? What is Kanye even thinking when he crafts Yeezys for his alien friends? Clothes may not mean that much as they hang in our closet, but our style is what makes them outfits. We are constantly in a state of defining ourselves, our identity, our place in the world, and the meaning of it all. When we choose something to put on our body, we are making some of these decisions in a small way, just enough to make us feel empowered. We are telling the world, “Hey, look at me, having control of myself and my creative expression.” It’s your way of making your presence known, of giving your ideas a path from the abstract to the physical world. What is the value of style? It’s someone giving you a brush, a blank canvas, self awareness and a billion colors of paint. It’s you showing them what you can do with what you’ve been given. And it’s you telling them who you are in that moment, that day, that season, that lifetime.
Our complexity can be daunting. We are always adapting, molding, and coming into different parts of ourselves, parts we may have even forgotten about or not even known to exist. Self awareness, then, isn’t always a casual stroll through our minds but rather, a hard-earned insight into what will truly sustain our joy. Acting on these moments of clarity, when you know for sure you are feeling creative, when you are feeling expressive, is a way to reinforce the steps in this journey. Keep reminding yourself you are worthy of all the things you want, keep reminding yourself everything that you should hold space, that you have value and the potential to reflect an authentic self to the world around you. Make yourself be heard through your clothes. Where does confidence come from? It comes from self knowledge. It comes from life-affirming acts of your character, your spirit and your happiness.
Style, then, becomes a persuasive essay you present to people about who you are and what you’re capable of. Can you handle yourself? Can you channel your ideas into tangible expression? Do you have control of your personal space and how do you yield that control? Style is your intelligence, your individualism, your courage in owning who you are and what you love. It’s us choosing ourselves over trends, daring to be different and inspiring that fearlessness in others. Fashion is not just us feeling inadequate to Cindy Crawford (and her daughter now??) as she graces the cover of Vogue. It’s our act of confidence. It’s our art.
To understand your style is to understand yourself, what’s more powerful than that?
Power Tip 1: Name your icons
This is a path of trial and error and you will need spiritual guides along the way. Finally, a chance for celebrities to become a little more useful in our lives. The benefit of their existence is that they are splashed across every conceivable dashboard of consciousness so you can witness all the different types of styles money can buy. To figure out who your main influencers are, start by doing a Pinterest, Google or Instagram search of “style icons” and save the images you are drawn to. You’ll start to see a collection of repeat people (your style menagerie) who you can look to for inspiration. The point is not to mimic but to find themes, colors, palettes that you gravitate towards. Write down the adjectives that describe these threads and carry this paper with you while you shop so you aren’t easily distracted by the glitz and glam of every piece that Zara flashes at you. It’s a process that involves research, planning and execution. Are they classic, modern, eclectic, bohemian, or trend-forward? Settle on a handful of words that feel true to your style, and write them down for future reference, as they will help you clarify and define your look.
Power Tip 2: Make a statement
Each outfit has a statement piece. As the light hits different parts of our personality, we will want to shift what exactly that is. Find the centerpiece of every outfit and work around that so that you don’t feel overwhelmed when defining your style. This piece can be as simple as a Victoria Beckham’s shades or as bold as Michael Jackson’s thriller jacket. Do you want to be classic, modern, eclectic, bohemian? All these identities begin with one article of clothing or accessory, one step towards a holistic style. Clean out your closet and look for your patterns in your purchase. Do you like neutrals more? Do you have an abundance of animal print? Heels or flats, which are taking up more space? InStyle magazine shared this advice, “Edit out pieces that don’t fit the criteria. Anything borderline gets the cut, including pieces you only feel brave enough to wear once in a while.”
Power Tip 3: Complement yourself
Less is more. Honing in on a style also means you become more mindful of the pieces that are in your closet. Think sustainable, think to avoid fast fashion, think to create value rather than volume. Repeller shares some ways you can shop vintage, sustainably and still try to stay true to your modern style. Some shops on instagram that the team can’t get enough of on Instagram are @sororitevintage (they carry an amazing selection of lace intimates) and @fvced_, Object Limited, Maj Kiosk, Wayward Vintage, Nanin Vintage, Michaela Co, Subrina Heyink, and Lucia Zolea. “Department stores are failing because it was only up to a few buyers to decide what shoppers would want in six months. Now vintage sellers have so much power, from where they list their items to how they style them to what they choose to buy. It’s cool and feels very nuanced and democratized.”
When you wear a particularly fire outfit and you find yourself strutting down streets and sidewalks with renewed self esteem, document it. Take pictures of your outfits on days where no one can tell you shit. Keep your lifestyle and your goals in mind when curating your style. Who do you want to present yourself to be? Do you want to be taken seriously amongst corporate culture or artist culture or somewhere in between? What do you appreciate about the city or suburb you live in and how can you reflect that in your sense of self? Experiment with brands at a budget or start thrifting and reusing old vintage pieces. Play up the favorite features of your body as a way to transcend trends. You will always be fashionable as long as you feel beautiful. Do you like your legs? Your cleavage? Your collarbones? Wear pieces that highlight what makes you feel strong and confident.
Real Talk: We build our self esteem through art and expression. When we are mindful and creative about what we choose to wear, we are telling the world, that is exactly how we plan to live our entire lives. We will not compromise our individuality, our complexity or our identity to fit anyone’s standards but our own. Hear us roar.
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